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Why Do You Hunt? A Perfect Response to Non-Hunters in Your Life

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


a special episode and transcript from the Food Afield Podcast.

This episode of the Food Afield Podcast was recorded one evening in the wall tent with Mark Hall. Mark and I were on night two of our turkey hunting in SE British Columbia. We had had a long conversation earlier in the day and decided to continue it while the recorder was running.

It started out simply as another segment of the documentary-style episodes that we are known for producing. But at around the fourteen-minute mark, something interesting happened. The conversation turned and I knew immediately that this recording would end up as its own episode.

Why Do You Hunt?

We've all been asked the question, "Why do you hunt?". "Why would we want to kill the animals that we say we love so much?". These are legitimate questions, and in my opinion, as hunters, we should be thinking about these things.

Well, Mark and I did just that and some of the comments to come out of it are special.

I hope that this special episode will help you with your next conversation with your non-hunting friends and family.

Mark and John sitting on the ground. Their backs are up against a large Fir tree. They are wearing brown and dark green clothing. John has a shotgun across his lap. Mark is smiling broadly with a turkey decoy at his feet.
A quick hunting selfie with Mark. You will often be able to tell I've set the timer on the camera when it's a picture of me still holding my glasses!

[00:00:00] Mark Hall: I have to cope with living in that world. That knowledge and understanding of ecosystems ruins a tremendous amount of my experience out here. Oh,

[00:00:10] John Schneider: I never thought of that. Ignorance is bliss.

[00:00:12] Mark Hall: Yeah, very much so. That they are oblivious to all of that. Mm-hmm. They are oblivious to, to, to, you know, the mines, the roads, the invasive plants and that sort of stuff, and they're just living and doing what a deer did.

10,000 years ago, and, and I, and I have to know that I, in my heart, I have to know that

why do you have to have a gun and be a hunter and try to kill one of them in order to see that?

[00:00:38] John Schneider: Yeah. I loved your response.

This is the Food Afield Podcast, a show about wild food ingredients and how to collect them. And now broadcasting from the Wilds of Alberta is your host, John David Schneider.

Cheers dude. Cheers.

[00:01:17] Mark Hall: Wild Turkey bourbon.

[00:01:20] John Schneider: And this is an old-fashioned, yeah.


The maple syrup. I have a bit of birch syrup left from when I made some years ago, and I wanted to try a birch syrup mixed with a sugar syrup and then put it with the bourbon cuz birch syrup is not like maple syrup. It's not sweet. No,

it, yeah, we've made it a few times.

How would you describe it?

The podcast episode poster. The text "why do you hunt?" is prominent. There is a portrait candid shot of John Schneider. His is wearing a brown plaid shirt and is looking down. He has a long salt and pepper beard. The stylized Food Afield Podcast logo is in the bottom right corner along with the words "with Mark Hall".

[00:01:47] Mark Hall: The best way? I described it as roasted pecans. Oh, interesting. Like you know, when you put 'em in and you get 'em just right to the edge where they're not quite burning, like if you put a nut in the, in the oven and, and it's just not quite, so it's that heavy roasted nut flavor.

[00:02:07] John Schneider: Oh, I, it's, I don't get that at all. Oh. I wonder if it's because of a different kind of birch, or do we, you know, do you take your boil a little further maybe or something? I get like a very bitter, tangy. I haven't been able to give it a flavor profile. I never thought of the pecans, so I'll have to think about that the next time I try.

Yeah. Yeah. It's certainly not maple syrup, that's for sure. Yeah, it's not, it's

[00:02:33] Mark Hall: not sugary sweet. I remember when I was researching learning to do it, they said the sap-to-syrup ratio for maple is 10 to one for birch. It's a hundred. Oh, really? And it comes out of the tree, it looks like water. Mm-hmm.

Like you just dip your finger in it. Mm-hmm. And it just taste like water. Mm-hmm. And so it really took a lot to condense it down and yeah, it's not, it's not super sweet and it just has this roasted burnt roasted nut flavor to it. No,

[00:03:00] John Schneider: I'm gonna think about that the next time. We also do Manitoba maple syrup.

Hmm. And it's actually very similar to the birch syrup, like similar taste profile, sort of bitter, tasty, not, it's definitely got a tang to it. Yeah. It's the best way I can put it. Yeah. Yeah. Sweet. It is sweet. But yeah, so anyways, end of day two for me. Yeah. And day three for you. Yeah. Yeah. What happened today?

Maybe give us a rundown.

[00:03:31] Mark Hall: So this morning we got up a little earlier, got up at four, left here, about five, walked into where we were yesterday up the old fence line road and just gave ourselves a little bit more time to kind of casually walk in and shot gobble away into the back and didn't. No, nothing.

Didn't find anything. Roosted back there. It's about a, from where the truck parts to the back end is about two K. Mm-hmm. And yeah, nothing was roosted through there, so we. Cut across the hillside to the little kind of opening area in the forest where we had some encounters. Cur. I had some encounters with birds.

[00:04:15] John Schneider: That was a big climb for me actually being a flatlander, that was a big climb. Yeah. I don't know how, how many feet that was, but it was, it was enough to get 10, 10.

[00:04:27] Mark Hall: Shut up. Mark your boat for that. The ridge above where we were you, you were

[00:04:32] John Schneider: probably like about at least a hundred

[00:04:34] Mark Hall: eighth of the way up.

[00:04:39] John Schneider: I was winded. I don't think I grabbed my knees, but I was winded. Yeah.

[00:04:43] Mark Hall: Yeah. And I powered all the way up that whole entire hillside. One time years ago following three Tom Turkeys that, mm, they were out in front of me, just power. They were powering

[00:04:51] John Schneider: up when I was Well, that gives you the adrenaline, right? I can see that.

[00:04:55] Mark Hall: But yeah, so we set, we set up there and just thought we would do the same play that we did the morning before, which was. That if the birds were roosted somewhere to the south of us that we just couldn't pick up by shot gobbling, they tend to work north in the morning

[00:05:14] John Schneider: and, well, you're missing a, you're skipping a step because we followed that ridge.

What direction is that South? Yes. So we followed that ridge quite away south. Yeah. So we sat at the opening for

[00:05:25] Mark Hall: a little while and then, yeah, and then we went for a little walkabout,

[00:05:29] John Schneider: which is a little, which is pertinent later on in this story. And then we. Came back to the, to that meadow. Yes. I guess we're calling it that.

We sat in yesterday. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:05:38] Mark Hall: So we did, we did sort of two sits at that that little, yeah. Open grassy area in, on the hillside, in the forest.

[00:05:46] John Schneider: Yeah. Because by the time we got back there for the second time, it was, what about, I wanna say, was it quite 11? For the second

[00:05:55] Mark Hall: sit. No, I think we were a bit earlier.

[00:05:57] John Schneider: I think we were Oh, that's right there. 10 ish or so. Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree. Yeah. And

[00:06:03] Mark Hall: So we, we struggled this morning. I think there's like a, a storm front moving in and we were in a low pressure zone today. Yeah. It rained yesterday. We had, yeah, yeah. With the rains a little bit. And So the winds were picked up.

Yeah. Yeah. And there was a lot of that, that swooshing and, you know, the sounds of jet, it was windy through the forest, then it's just like that just kills gobbling activity. I can't remember exactly what the wind speed is, but it's very low. It's like three or miles an hour or something like that. And Tom's will.

Stop gobbling. Mm-hmm. Their ability to hear is severely restricted. So they're making themselves vulnerable by, by gobbling and not being able to hear as well, so they just shut down. And so we fought with the wind

[00:06:51] John Schneider: a little bit. They gotta laugh at them because they, they make themselves vulnerable, like constantly.

Oh, abs, yeah.

[00:06:58] Mark Hall: Every, every crow or, or, or Yeah, it's like, I'm, I'm here. I'm

[00:07:03] John Schneider: here. It's like, it's kind of crazy. I don't know how they survived all these millions of years, but anyways. Yeah. Yeah, it's it's, and then we were sitting there and it got a little sunny and it was just nice. I was just kind of starting to doze off and then I thought I heard in the distance again, similar to here at camp, this really faint sound that is sort of unmistakable by now.

Like, it just grabs your attention, right? Yeah. And it's a gobble Yeah. But it's a distant gobble that you barely hear. And I, you were sitting in the tree over from me about 10 yards and, and I was signaling Yeah. I heard something, right. And I was like, ah. Yeah. And then you were dead by yourself. Yeah. And then what, how long later?

Like 10 minutes or so? Yep. Yeah. I saw

[00:07:48] Mark Hall: you. Watching up the hill, and then all of a sudden, like you picked your shotgun on and got it up on your Yeah. And I'm like, what are you like,

[00:07:58] John Schneider: what the heck? Right. And

[00:08:00] Mark Hall: and so I just, I'm watching up and watching up and all of a sudden, here's this Turkey mm-hmm.

Walking across that this, this opening that we're sitting on, but about a hundred yards above us. Yeah, that's what I said it was too. Yeah. Yeah. I ranged, I ranged one tree just below. Where the one bird was and it said like 90 ish.

[00:08:18] John Schneider: So it is funny. People wouldn't believe, you know, we're in the mountains basically.

We're in the east Cies. I guess I shouldn't say where we are. I didn't want to say where we are. I'll edit that out. That's, that's a very large

[00:08:32] Mark Hall: geographic area. It's the size of some countries. Okay. It's twice the size of Rhode Island and,

[00:08:38] John Schneider: okay. All all that stuff. So you're comfortable? Yeah. Okay. So, you know, we're in the mountains, we're in the east Cies, but it's so weird.

I like, I am kind of enthralled with this country because you can walk in the valleys and it feels rainforesty, damp, and mossy and, and shaded. And then you can climb up these ridges. What would you say we climbed today? Would it be a hundred feet? Yeah, ma'am. Something like that. Yeah. Right. And you get up there and it's like all of a sudden you're in this Savannah, you know, like well not, not Savannah, but how would you describe it?

It's a, it's this open Parkland further park.

[00:09:18] Mark Hall: It's a, it's a, yeah, like a parkland forest. Kind of slash shrub step. It is so,

[00:09:24] John Schneider: so beautiful. And the trees, it's very sparsely tree and in places. So you come, you know what they call them in the Appalachians is bald. Okay, so it's heavily forested, heavily forested, the eastern seaboard, and then you get up on these ridges, and then every now and then there's these naturally forming bulbs.

They're called little, the animals have grazed it down. Yeah, yeah. That's what it reminds me of. And so I, I'm kind of shocked when I said, yeah, I saw a Turkey a hundred yards away. It's like, what? Because a lot of the forest that we're in, there's no way, you can't see 20 yards, right? Yeah. But up there, up top, you can sure see a waste.

Yeah. So that was. Fascinating. So every hunt that I've been on with you and, and including the hunt that I wasn't with you there's been, we've been in the game, like birds have been seen. Yep.

[00:10:13] Mark Hall: Or heard. We've been, we've been Yep. Seen or heard and seen strutting, lots of gobbling activity. Where we were sitting when these two turkeys walked across the hill, our decoys were right in front of us.

Strategically placed so that if a bird did walk out in this opening above or below us, and hopefully they looked down or up, they would see two other turkeys standing there. Hmm. And when I saw the Turkey walk above us it was like right away I knew it was, was was a male and s I only saw the one you said there was the two.

And so I did a little he call. Yeah. And he hit the brakes. Stop. Yeah. I could see him. Yeah. Pulled his head up and and then gobbled.

[00:10:57] John Schneider: Was that the second one? That was the one you saw? Yeah. Okay. So they both did basically the same thing. The one I was watching, the first one he just snapped his head around cuz he was facing the other way.

As soon as you Turkey called, or as soon as you hen called, he snapped his head around and, and I thought, oh, here we go. That's what I

[00:11:14] Mark Hall: thought too. Yeah. The, the one he gobbled back and then he took a step forward and then he puffed out and was all puffed and fanned out or whatever. And, and, and then I thought, He's, he's gonna come down.

Mm-hmm. Like, he's gonna like slowly strut his w strut his way down and nope. He, he dropped out of followed his buddy and then just carried on off in the force, like forevermore late, late for an important date than the way they went and was like, so we were talking about this on, on the hillside. So I think the dynamic that's going on up there is, there's a long beard.

With a hand or two and another fairly dominant bird that's that's close at toe. And then there's these two young Jakes. That are following along, but minding their Ps and Qs by staying well back at the long beard. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And the first morning, Curtis and I were following this whole entire bunch of birds, patterning them.

We'd get close to them, set up and try to draw one of the birds, you know, back to us, and it was just cappon and gobbling and hen calls and craziness, and then they'd move away. Then they, they split up and two of the birds crossed the big draw were the rock bluff, is that we crossed and they were on that far side gobbled at us.

And then those two young Jake stayed on the one side of the draw and we were working our way down and bumped into them and they were by themselves. Strutting and puffing up at each other, but not responding to our gobbling calls. And so I think that's the two that we saw. Mm. Were those two Jakes. And I think they are just so, they're so well behaved and they're so respectful of the hierarchy of those other two bigger Toms that are in there that they will not like approach, risk it.

Yelping hen. Yeah. And they just sort of, they acknowledged, you know, today they did on opening morning Curtis and I had 'em roosted and they gobbled, but they, they're just not gonna risk coming to a hi.

[00:13:37] John Schneider: We're sitting in a nice, cozy, comfy wall tent. The wood stove is going, there's a single oil lamp lantern hanging from the roof at the peak sitting across from Mark. And Mark is just bathed in this, oh, golden light from the lamp half of you, and having a whiskey and. We had a great visit all day today.

We were talking about a bunch of different things that I kind of wanted to summarize, I guess a bit. I don't know how we get into these deep discussions, but I'm so thankful that we do because they're, they answer a lot of questions that maybe we get asked or maybe we think about ourselves, and that's like, why do we hunt?

It must seem like such an oxymoron to non-hunters when you talk about hunters who love the animals. That they then go and kill. Yeah. And I wanted to get your thoughts. You had some really passionate, well thought out responses to that. Right. Can you summarize something for a non hunter who doesn't understand Well, how can you.

Kill besides food. I mean, we're looking for food primarily, right? Yep. Yep.

[00:14:44] Mark Hall: That's, and I mean, that's a whole rabbit hole in itself of like, you don't need the food you can buy, you know, like it's not, you know, not a matter of survival anymore, but that's kind of a different discussion from what you're asking.

John is kneeling in the snow. He is wearing a dark green wool jacket, wool cap and mittens. He is holding the antlers of a massive Mule Deer buck which is laying on the ground in front of him.
John's Mule Deer buck from November '22. Photo by Kevin Kossowan.

And. You know, to try to kind of summarize up that question about, you know, why I hunt. I, I, I talked about this concept that I learned from Dr. Leewood, who's been on our podcast a few times, that everybody has a currency from hunting. Like there are other things that you want from hunting those intrinsic things, they're different for each one of us.

And he always challenged people to look beyond the. Well, I'm, I'm out here for food, you know, and I'm, and that sort of thing because that's partially true. But there are probably things that are above the importance of food, that put you out there. I

[00:15:41] John Schneider: would say there are things that are layered. I.

With the food. Yes.

[00:15:46] Mark Hall: Yes. Yeah, no, for, for sure. I, I, I would agree that, and, and so he, Lee was sort of challenging people to, to, to think about and acknowledge mm-hmm. And talk about those other things. Right. And I thought this was

[00:15:59] John Schneider: so insightful and it sort of made sense of a lot of different things that I wrestle with, like Bo versus gun.

You know, tree stand versus spot in stock. Yes. Bait versus spot in stock. There's all these layers that are, that currency that you're talking. And, and the one that

[00:16:16] Mark Hall: you mentioned, you said, you know, food-wise I only need like a Yeah. A whitetail f and maybe a mule deer f or something like that. Some gross.

And, and that's, yeah. And that's it for the whole year. Yeah. But you have this urge and this passion to go sit in a tree, stand with your bowl and try to get a big mature whitetail buck. And it's like there are things beyond food. That are, are, are wanting to put you there beyond necessity of, of, of venison sort sort of thing.

And, and that's what keeps you out there. That's, that's what drives you to be out there. And, and so it's just this, this work to do

[00:16:55] John Schneider: it with the bow or traditional bow. Yeah. It's, that's the currency that, you know, I lost that

[00:17:01] Mark Hall: you're, that you're getting from hunting and so, so you, you were challenging me, you know, sort of with the question.

About, you know, sort of like, you know, why do you hunt? How do you, how do you explain it and stuff. And I, and I had a very kind of different, you know, different response. And for me, you know, a huge part of the currency and a huge part of why I hunt is it's so, so important to me. To go into the animal world, into nature and see and observe everything that's out there.

Mm-hmm. To know and have the satisfaction that ducks are being ducks, that deer are being dear and that they are living free and, and wild. That, so that is a fundamental thing. Of why I go out hunting and why I get so much from my hunts when I don't get something. My background, my professional background comes from the natural resource sector in environmental sciences, and I've been involved in all of, you know, the major extraction industries, forestry oil and gas exploration, coal mining, you know, those industries, and I've always gone into those.

Trying to do things on the development end of resource extraction with my knowledge and love of wildlife to ensure that things are done and roads are placed in the best possible place to have the least amount of impact on wildlife. But, but I live in this, this impacted world and I live with seeing what.

You know, I've done, you know, with these resource industries mm-hmm. And the impacts. And, and sometimes you don't always, you know, get the say on what should or shouldn't be done for, for wildlife conservation in, in these development projects. Alda Leopold had made a quote one time about sort of the the curse of the ecologist in, in seeing the land and seeing the impacts to the land.

And, you know, I, I go out there and it's like, oh, like what a, you know, a nice green meadow. And I'm like, That's an invasive plant. Mm-hmm. That's an invasive plant. That's an invasive plant, right? Mm-hmm. And, and, and what I see is, I see impacts to nature. And, and so it, it's hard to live with. It's hard to, to, to see that and not get away from it.

It's like, even if I go into the highest mountain peaks way up in go country, like, you know, untouched, pristine habitat, it's like I look into a basin and I see all these gray snags. And those are the dead white bark pine trees that grow at salal pine levels. The reason they're all dead is because of a blister rust that was introduced from a shipment from Europe into the port of Vancouver in the late 18 hundreds, and it's spread through wildfire through the white bark pine in the western pine.

And I see that. That's what I see in the mountains, and I'm like the American chestnut.

[00:20:00] John Schneider: The exact, the blight same.

[00:20:03] Mark Hall: So, so when I go out there, it's like New York Harbor. I, I have, I have to cope with living in that world, that knowledge. An understanding of the ecosystems mm-hmm. Ruins a tremendous amount of my experience out here.

[00:20:16] John Schneider: Oh, I never thought of that. Ignorance is blessed. Yeah, very

[00:20:19] Mark Hall: much so. Very much so. So my, one of my outcomes in hunting is to be able to go out, like I said, and see ducks, and see deer and see wildlife and immerse myself and try to pursue them and know that they are oblivious to all of that. Mm-hmm. They are oblivious to, to, to, you know, the mines, the roads, the invasive plants and that sort of stuff.

And they're just living and doing what a deer did 10,000 years ago. And, and I, and I have to know that I, in my heart, I have to know that. So then you challenged me. Yeah. Well, why do you have to have a gun and be a hunter and try to kill one of them in order to see that? Yeah. I loved your response. So that started me down the path of, I and, and you were saying, well, why can't you know, you, you do that with like the camera, the camera.

Like, and I'm

[00:21:14] John Schneider: like, hunted up a tree stand, do all of the things, but then get that shot of the deer at 15 yards with your

[00:21:20] Mark Hall: camera. Yeah. And I said, for me, I can't. Mm-hmm. For me to enter the animal world to see how they live. That they're living free. What it takes to be a deer, what it takes to be a duck, what they need to survive.

So I understand them as a species. I have to be a predator. Yeah, I love that. And, and so I have to have a firearm in my hand and I have to be in the mental frame that. If I have the opportunity, I will kill one of these things, but if I'm not, I'll be careless with the camera. I may not worry about the wind.

I may not freeze. In an awkward position and stare at the ground for what seems like an eternity cuz a dough is standing there staring at me and I don't want to spook her. And you don't do that unless you are a predator. Mm-hmm. You know, you're okay to bump some elk. Mm-hmm. And, and. Go along your way, but as a predator, I don't want to bump those elk because that then might spook the deer that are right over there that I'm, I'm, I'm after.

So I'm in a completely different frame of mind as a predator. Therefore, I see the animals differently. I approach them differently and fundamentally at the raw level. I understand them more. And you're

[00:22:45] John Schneider: part of that cycle. Yeah. That predator prey, you're part of their survival strategy. Yep. You're testing their survival strategy with,

[00:22:54] Mark Hall: and by seeing them and how they, you know, I'm sneaking up on a deer and, and it feeds, it snaps its head up.

And then it, you know, it looks around and then it goes back to feeding. And it's like that's a survival strategy that they do that so that they can snap their head up and catch something moving and go, aha, you're busted. And then they're gone. And so by playing the role of the predator, it's like it's head down, I'm gonna move.

And the head's gonna snap up. I freeze. Yeah. Like, like I'm, I'm learning so much about that deer and their behavior and the look in its eye and the position of its ears. And it's like, that is so important to me. It's so important to me to, to. To know as much as I can about these animals that I love, so that when I'm on my deathbed, it's like I know a deer.

Yeah, I know a duck. Yeah. And I, I have satisfaction. Yeah. And I, for me personally, I can't. Reach that level of understanding and connection with them. What's so profound

[00:23:59] John Schneider: about all of that is the, you know, there's a lot of anti-hunting sentiment about, you know, the istic or the the will to dominate animals.

Mm-hmm. Right. And I've always rejected that. I've never, well, I shouldn't say never. Maybe in my younger days when I was had more blood lust, I might have been wanting to dominate animals, but I certainly don't feel that way now. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So the way you just worded all of that, I think expresses exactly the way I feel.

Mm-hmm. And it's there's no dominance involved. No. When you're predator and prey, right? No. From the, it's a work perspective. It might appear that way. It's a very calm thing, right From the outward outside. It would certainly, I get why people would think that, you know, that you want to be the dominant, you know?

Yeah, yeah. You want to dominate nature and dominate that animal, but that's, Not the feeling internally with either one of us, I feel. No, no, that's interesting. The other thing that that is interesting about what you said was that I love how we share so much, so many outside interests in science and anthropology and archeology and all the history and all these different things.

So we had just a great conversation this afternoon and then we started talking about why do you think. You feel that way and why do other people not feel that way? If humans are predators, this big blanket statement, all humanity is predatory, then you know, why do you have anti-hunt? Everybody should feel this way.

And I thought your response was, was brilliant. Yeah,

[00:25:38] Mark Hall: so I, I. I if you went back 10,000 years to like say Clovis people or something like that, and you think about a, a, a group of people, 50 people in a community of 30, you know, or something, and they're traveling the land, moving their camps. They're hunting, they're following the game.

Out of that group of 30, maybe four or five, six, You know, of the members or the hunters, you know, they would've had an aptitude for that. As a child. Mm-hmm. Their elders would've watched them and, and, and said, you know, we're watching the six kids, you know, playing or whatever, and four of 'em are over there digging, you know, in the dirt.

And one of them's over there on the edge of the trees catching butterflies or something in. Yeah. And they're like, there's something, he's, he's, we've gotta take him aside and move him forward. To be like the hunter. So, so there were certain people that had the skills, the aptitudes, they were born with the genetics to be the hunters.

And then they would go out, they would take the risks, they would kill. And then of course then everybody would come butcher pack process, deal with it. When, when they get back. So I still feel that some of us carry the d n A from tens of thousands of years ago. Some of us are the hunters and some of us are not.

[00:27:18] John Schneider: And again, I, I want to emphasize as well, I agree with that completely, but I think there's this mis, this misnomer that, you know, the hunter is the most important. Character in that drama. Right? But there is the, the, there are the people that are in camp that are the constructors. There are the people in camp that are the, the cooks or the foragers.

There are the people in camps that are the medicine people. There's like, so I like the idea that. Being the hunter, because I certainly feel that way too. I did not grow up in a hunting family. I was not indoctrinated into hunting. I felt it in my bones that I had to do it, and there was no option. Yeah.

Fishing and hunting, I had to. And so where does that come from? And I think this is exactly what you just said, but having said that, it didn't, it never gave me this feeling of superiority over. Anybody else, you know, like there are people that have to be able to cook that food or build that house or make soap or whatever, right?

Yeah. So I love the idea that there can be different instincts amongst different people. Yes. Right. We were talking about Curtis and Paige and, and I, I can kind of see the patterns of what you're talking about. Like Paige loves making soap. Paige was audience will recognize that name cuz Paige was on the podcast last year.

We were fly fishing together. And she'll be on the podcast this summer. We're gonna fish together as well. So she loves making soap. Right. And then Curtis Garden and, oh, gardening, right? Oh, huge. Yeah. And so great. Good green thumb. And then Curtis is now into blacksmithing and leather crafting. And he's the artisan.

He's also a hunter, right? Yep. But yep, he's the artisan. Right. So you can see how all these people with all these passions would get together to form a community that would make things work, right? Yep, yep, yep. No,

[00:29:26] Mark Hall: I I just, I, I, I just, I believe that in my heart. Mm-hmm. And so, you know, when we say hunting is in our blood, it, it's like, it, it, it is it, and, and it, and it goes back, you know?

Thousands and thousands of years in, in, in our genetics. Truly that's in our blood. And, and it's not for everybody. And, and so but we are now in an era of, of like criticizing. Us that have this instinct and this passion,

[00:29:58] John Schneider: and there's a lot of hunters that think they're superior. I saw evidence said that today,

[00:30:02] Mark Hall: and I do believe, I do believe there are hunters that probably don't have that DNA and the genetics and, and they are hunting for the wrong reasons.

And so when, like, just to back up when you said it's, it's not a dominance thing, the word that came into my head was a responsibility thing. Mm, interesting. So, because a hunter is a provider and we share and we give our meat away and we do literally bring home and put food on the table and like that's what we do.

We take the risks. You know, I'm up looking for a Turkey tonight and there's like grizzly bear trucks in the mud. Like, it's like there's an inherent risk that we have to take to kind of bring. Bring some food home, but I feel it as a responsibility, right? Mm-hmm. Just like, you know, if we were a small community and it was like, hey, we needed to build like a, a metal iron to be able to like, You know, put the meat on a spit or whatever, like Curtis would feel now that he's blacksmithing a responsibility,

[00:31:06] John Schneider: the boat maker would feel a responsibility to get

[00:31:09] Mark Hall: us out to, to the water where we could.

Yes. And, and the pride that the boat worked and then yeah, they got the, the hunters and the team to wherever they needed to be in

[00:31:16] John Schneider: the cooks would feel the responsibility to make good. Food palatable and

[00:31:21] Mark Hall: nutritious and tasty. Yes. And you know, I, I dunno if that word resonates with you, but that's, that's where I saw is that I have this I agree instinct, I have this talent, I have this ability to enter into the animal world.

We talked about that. I have a very, very strong. Ethos, or that's not the right word. Ab a thing that's occurred in my life as, as I get older that I'm, I'm I, I suppressed for a long time when I was younger didn't want to talk about it or admit it or, or whatever, but a as I get older, I start going back and contemplating this idea that I am a hunter, but, That animal world out there in animals, it's not necessarily this, this discreet western view of animals, of these biological units that follow these photos and stuff.

Oh yeah. That there's something different. There is a different world. There is an animal world, if you want to call it a spirit world or an animal world, and as a hunter part of what I'm trying to do, and part of the value I get from hunting is making that transition from this world to that world, and, and it's a, it's an unexplainable feeling, but I know when it happens where I have left this world and I have gone into that animal world.


[00:32:45] John Schneider: Without getting into the details, because that is a personal private story that you shared with me, it is something though that I. Have not really tapped into you, but I completely understand what you're saying. It is. It is sitting there on a November afternoon where you don't see a deer the entire day.

You haven't seen a deer in previous two or three sits, and all of a sudden a deer comes from a completely unexpected direction and walks up from 800 yards away and has his nose at your tree, and that you then are able to execute the shot and and kill this. That's interesting to me. Yeah. Is that magical?

Is that mystical? Is that, is that, or is it luck or, you know, I think there, I think you're right. There's a feeling that comes over you that, that you just know this is gonna happen. I said that when I killed that big buck. Yeah. I knew I was gonna kill him when I saw him 400 yards away. Yep. Yeah, I knew it.


[00:33:52] Mark Hall: had those feelings in my heart sometimes. I've had the feelings. I wake up in the morning and I know today. Oh yeah, there you go. Today's the day I, I've had that. So there's these things like that that we're talking about where they, they're these feelings. Yeah. And they're. Kind of not explainable, and it's just made me more open to being aware of these things well, that I'm hunting and I'm not shy anymore.

To be open to the idea that there's something just a little bit bigger than just nature and geniuses and species and categories and, you know, and behaviors and, and killing and eating. Yeah. That sort of thing. There's something, there's something a bit bigger and, and more and more, as I get older, I tap into that a little bit more and more, you know, with my hunting and, and partly what I feel in that is that sometimes.

It. It's almost like I'm a conduit in, in being led into the animal world as a hunter, as a predator. Sometimes I'm given a gift, but I'm also there to understand and learn and watch and be taught because at some point I have to step back into this other world and say, I. This is what deer need. This is what Martin need, this is what we need to do.

You know, as people, as you know protecting their habitat and, and considering them as a species and stuff, it's like I feel a responsibility as a hunter predator that when I leave that world and come back, that I have messages to bring back as well from those experiences. Well

[00:35:30] John Schneider: said. So well said.

[00:35:33] Mark Hall: Deep stuff. I hope it doesn't Weird people out. It's, it's a, a very weird thing to share with people. I, I don't think so. They're not like, what do you guys. On, you know, like, it, it's just, it's, it's, we're not drunk. It's my heart. It's,

[00:35:48] John Schneider: everybody has those feelings though. It's that feeling of, you know, maybe somebody listening out there has been coming home from work and you know, they're in the parkade and they decide to go a different way, or, you know, cuz they have a feeling about something.

Right. And you hear about that all the time. Mm-hmm. There are intuitions, right? You meet somebody, just get a bad feeling about that dude. Yeah. Right. Or get a great feeling about, about her, those things. Oh yeah, she's the one. Right. How many times have you heard those? Yeah. Those words. Right. So

[00:36:19] Mark Hall: and so I experience that in hunting.

Yeah. And, and, and it just makes me like be open to the idea that there's something more, I don't know what, but there's something more that's giving me those feelings. And it isn't really

[00:36:32] John Schneider: something that needs to be controlled, I feel it's something that just needs to be observed. No. And recognized. Yeah.

And appreciated. Yeah.

[00:36:40] Mark Hall: Because it comes and goes. Yeah. You

[00:36:41] John Schneider: know, it's, it's, well, we talked about that today. Neither of us have really felt it yet. Yeah. On this hunt, for

[00:36:47] Mark Hall: instance of, of it's like being, being led into the Turkey world and we're

[00:36:51] John Schneider: enjoying it. We're having fun. Yeah. We're in the game. Yeah. But it's like, yeah.

No, the knocking,

[00:36:57] Mark Hall: we haven't earned it yet. The analogy I've had with Turkey hunting is, is I want to be let into the Turkey world. So I have that feeling and I feel like I'm knocking on the door the last couple days. Yeah. But I'm not being let in right now. Yeah. So it's

[00:37:13] John Schneider: well let's end this episode actually.

This was, yeah. Wonderful conversation with Mark Hall and the creator of the Hunter Conservationist podcast Round Canada. And you're doing the Hunter's Diary podcast as well, which is all on your website, which is the hunter And what happened tonight, mark, some interesting things tonight.

So we went,

[00:37:38] Mark Hall: Lead us in tomorrow. We split up. I went for a hike for about a kilometer, up a old road. It's actually a motor vehicle closure cuz we're kind of in a winter range area and not a lot of vehicles are allowed up, all of the side roads. So John took a drive up one of the other roads did some crow calling, trying to locate a roosted Tom.

I went for a walk up this back road and got about a kilometer back up there to the little junction and blew my crow call and. Tom answered from the loose up on the ridge.

[00:38:11] John Schneider: Nice. So, so we know what we're doing in the morning. We know

[00:38:15] Mark Hall: what we're, where we're going in the morning and we have to climb up

[00:38:19] John Schneider: a hill.

Is it more than a hundred feet? Yes. Oh,

[00:38:25] Mark Hall: so you better go to bed.


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